Thursday, November 22, 2018

There is always something to be thankful for...

Whether it's Thanksgiving or just any other day of the week, there's always something to be thankful for. The older I get, the more I realize the importance of gratitude and that's why I've found it helpful to keep a gratitude journal.

At the end of every day, I take a few minutes to jot down things for which I'm grateful. As I begin writing, my list grows quickly. Seeing God's blessings causes me to be humbled at His love for me.

If you've got something to write with and something to write on, you have the items necessary to being keeping track of your gratitude. Begin by making a list of your basic needs that have been met if you don't know where to begin and allow your list to expand from that point forward.

For example, the first thing I'm thankful for each morning is the fact that I woke up. The alternative could be good too, because I know if I didn't wake, I'd be in heaven with Jesus, but for now, I'm thankful I'm still here.

As I begin to start my day, there are so many other things I'm thankful for but I'm not only thankful for things, I'm thankful for people and emotions, and so much more.

When you become intentional about listing your daily gifts and gratitude lists, you'll find your attitude shifting. Instead of focusing on the negative in your life, you'll begin to see things in a new light. It's all about perspective and being grateful helps you become more focused on positivity.

It isn't difficult to give thanks. Try it! At the end of the day, think of 3 things for which you're grateful. Write them down. You may have a small journal or notepad. Put the date on your list. Try to keep it going for 21 days. They say if you do that, it will become a habit. At the end of the month, flip back through your lists and re-read them. You'll realize God has been blessing you all along, even when you've failed to give thanks for those blessings.

Giving thanks makes your heart glad! Try it, you just might like it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Turkey day is almost here!

Mixing up my famous dressing

Thanksgiving preparations are in full swing here. This year, we won't be hosting the meal but will enjoy being the guests. Even though that's the case, there are still many dishes to prepare. The menu is made and it's time to celebrate!

Holidays are nice because they help us remember those things we forget in the middle of the year. It's nice to have a designated day for giving thanks, but the risk is that we isolate those aspects of the celebration to that one day a year instead of living it out all year round.
It's easy to gather round the dinner table and declare our gratitude, but what about those gray, wintry days in the bleak of February, or what about the sweltering days of July, or the mundane days of September?

Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Always. Without ceasing. In all circumstances. So yes, give thanks tomorrow and through the weekend. Tell people how much they matter to you. Make those gratitude lists. But when this weekend ends, don't stop. Keep it going. All year round.

Also, before we go and stuff our faces with turkey, can I just say how grateful I am for you?

It means a lot to know you take time out of your precious day to pop in and visit for a few minutes. I love reading your messages and connecting with you over how God is moving in your life or how my simple words here have been a breath of hope. It makes what I do worth it. It makes what I do matter, and it reminds me that this whole writing thing and helping people love God's story was never my idea, but an act of obedience and love.

So, Happy Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Time for Thankfulness

It's been a good while since I've written. Honestly, I can't remember the date of my last post without looking it up and that's a good thing. That means I've been busy living my life and although this year has been full of challenges, it's been a good year.

In October, I crossed another item off my bucket list. For over 45 years, I've dreamed of going to Israel and finally, it happened. My husband and I joined a group of other Christians for a 10 day pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It was exciting, exhausting, and very memorable. I could write a book about the things I saw and experienced but for the sake of keeping this post fairly short, I will only touch on a couple of things.

Israel is a crazy, busy place! I never dreamed it would be so full of people, buildings, and traffic. Along with all that, there are, of course, the historical, biblical sites and we visited most of them while there. Every single day of our trip was packed with places to go and things to do. We'd have our 5:00 a.m. wakeup call, get dressed, eat breakfast, and be on the tour bus ready to go by 7:00 a.m. We'd return each day around 6 or 7pm, grab a quick dinner, and fall into bed exhausted.

Speaking of falling, on the second day of our trip, I fell and hard. We were in the City of David and had just completed a tour through some archaeological ruins. I was taking photographs of the city and walking as I maneuvered around others in our group to the perfect shot without bodies in it. As I walked toward an overlook of the city, I completely missed a step and went flying through the air. I landed yards from my original location and managed to fall with all my weight on my right knee. Before being helped up, I noticed how close I was to the edge of the platform. A few more feet and I would have been over the cliff. I took time to offer a prayer of thanks and then felt two strong arms helping me up.

Immediately, upon rising, my knee began to swell and throb. I was almost sure I'd broken my kneecap. My husband helped me find a place to sit and I pulled up my pants to see the damage. Already my knee was turning purple and the swelling was growing. From that point on I knew this was not going to be a good day.

But while in Israel, I did get to ride a camel (another thing to scratch off my bucket list) and I did get to walk on the Gospel Trail, a trail used by Jesus and his disciples to travel from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee.

The Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock

Getting kissed by my camel friend, Sam
 After several weeks, my knee has finally healed and I've been able to put the walker away. Now I'm focusing on preparations for Thanksgiving and finding myself entering a season of thanksgiving.

This year has been full of things for which to be thankful. My brother survived major heart surgery, our family was blessed with the addition of two little ones, I celebrated my 4th cancerversary, Phil and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, my youngest grandson, Garrett, celebrated his 1st birthday (which is a miracle since he was born prematurely and had major health challenges), we enjoyed a vacation to Mexico Beach before Hurricane Michael devastated that area, enjoyed our first international trip, and are now planning a mountain retreat.

The year has also been filled with sadness. We lost 2 uncles this year and a cousin had a major stroke. But through it all, God has been good. We are so very grateful for all of His wonderful blessings and especially thankful for sweet memories that will carry us through the end of the year.

Christmas will be hard with both of our sets of parents no longer with us, but we'll celebrate with those able to join us.

I've still been writing for the cancer magazine but will leave that behind at the end of the year and focus on completing my book. I've put it on hold for some time now and feel God prompting me to get busy writing it.

In February, I'll see the oncologist again and hopefully get good news. It's hard to believe 2019 will be the year I finally reach my 5 year mark. When that rolls around, on July 9th, I'm hoping to have a big celebration. That 5 year milestone is an important one. Doctors say that most breast cancer patients who'll have a recurrence usually have it within the first 5 years post diagnosis. I hope to prove them wrong.

And that's where things lie today. Early next week, I'll begin my holiday baking and I can't wait for that. Christmas decorations are already going up and yes, I've been enjoying many Hallmark holiday movies :)

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with God's best blessings. I'll try to post more often but in the event I don't, know that life is good and I'm busy living it. Spread love, Bonnie

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